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RDA Plan On Hold
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Escalon city officials have put off a meeting that was originally scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 16, in connection with the possibility of forming a redevelopment agency.

"It was to be a special meeting, at 6 p.m., to hear the feasibility study from our consultant on the redevelopment agency," said City Manager Henry Hesling.

But with the future of already-existing redevelopment agencies in doubt across the state, Hesling said it didn't make sense to have a special meeting to discuss something that might never happen.

"We want to wait until we get some clarity on the state position," Hesling said.

New Governor Jerry Brown has floated the possibility of abolishing redevelopment agencies and doing away with enterprise zones. Both of those entities are new topics for Escalon, with the city council recently voting to be part of the San Joaquin County enterprise zone in hopes of helping attract some businesses.

Preparing the feasibility study on redevelopment for the city, meanwhile, was the firm Urban Futures out of Tustin, in Orange County. Hesling said he hopes to bring in the consultant soon, but will wait until the state RDA picture clears up a little.

In related action at the Monday, Feb. 7 regular council meeting, the council - under administrative matters - approved a resolution opposing the Governor's proposal to abolish redevelopment agencies in the state.

Hesling said the recent session was pretty low key, with just a handful of residents in attendance and a fairly light agenda.

The council did approve awarding a contract for a streetlight relocation project to Garrett Thompson Construction, Inc., of Modesto.

"We need to move the streetlights back," Hesling said, noting that the three decorative streetlights in question near the intersection of McHenry and Highway 120 need to be relocated because of their close proximity to the street. Four bids were received for the work, with the low bid of $10,704 coming from Thompson. Total project cost is estimated at $28,000 including the engineering, project costs, purchase of decorative lights and advertising for the bids. The other bids received ranged from $14,350 to $24,488.

Also approved was a Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP) development plan and schedule, as required by the state in connection with meeting requirements established by the Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements.

The Sewer System Management Plan will cover details including how the city's sewer collection system is operated, maintained, repaired and funded.

"The Statewide discharge requirements require public entities that own or operate sanitary sewer collection systems greater than one mile in length that collect and/or convey untreated or partially treated wastewater to a publicly owned treatment facility in the State of California to develop and implement an SSMP," said City Engineer John Abrew in his staff report to the council.

Funds have been provided in the current 2010-2011 fiscal year budget for the work and Abrew offered a timeline of developing and testing the plan that ends with council approval of the SSMP in early April.

The city, added Abrew, owns, operates and maintains some 26 miles of sewer pipe in serving a city of 7,185 population.